Principles of Divine Judgment

Sunday, July 23, 2017

In the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the saints at Rome, he deals with principles of God’s divine judgment. Let’s look at these principles.

Principle #1: People are condemned when they practice what they condemn in others. Paul wrote, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things” (Rom. 2:1). The Gentiles had available to them knowledge of God, but deliberately refused to be governed by that knowledge. They were “without excuse” (Rom. 1:30). But the Jews also had available to them knowledge of God, and they also refused to be governed by that knowledge. They also were without excuse (“inexcusable”).  

The Jews could easily see the sins in the lives of the Gentiles. They would say a hearty “Amen” to the things Paul had written of the Gentiles in chapter one. But they were practicing the same things that they condemned in the Gentiles. All judgment should begin at home. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (II Cor. 13:5). Before trying to remove the “mote” from our brother’s eye, we should be sure that we  do not have a ”beam” in our own eye. Again, judgment begins at home! (Matt. 7:1ff). What about us today? Are we ever guilty of this? Do we practice what we condemn in others?

Principle #2: God's judgment will be according to the truth of the word of God, that is, His revealed word in the Bible. “But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things” (Rom. 2:2). Paul refers to the nature of God’s judgment. First, we must realize that God’s judgment is a fact.  “He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world” (Acts 17:30-31). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (II Cor. 5:10). “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). See also Hebrews 9:27 and II Timothy 4:1. God’s judgment will be “according to truth” that is, according to what God’s Word in the Bible teaches, for this is a plain reference to the sacred Scriptures which will form the grounds or man’s eternal judgment in that day (John 8:32, 17:17, 12:48). God’s judgment is “against” all who practice sins—whether Jew or Gentile. Note that Paul says we can be “sure” about these things.

If judgment is “according to truth,” it is vital that we know what truth is. This requires a diligent search of God’s Word. We should do this on a daily basis. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). One of the requirements for building the Christian life is to “add to your virtue knowledge” (II Pet. 1:5). We are to “grow in knowledge” (II Pet. 1:18). As I often tell my students, Bible knowledge is not acquired by osmosis. It requires diligent study. (Continued next week.)

Paul M. Wilmoth